Amazon facility developers must co-ordinate with Irish Air Corps

Department of Defence requires care with cranes due to Casement Aerodrome flights

 Amazon: Similar sites to that planned for Unit E at Baldonnell Business Park  employ 1,000 staff. Photograph: Johannes Eisele

Amazon: Similar sites to that planned for Unit E at Baldonnell Business Park employ 1,000 staff. Photograph: Johannes Eisele

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The developer of Amazon’s new €60 million Dublin “fulfilment centre”, which will help it bypass Brexit delays and speed up deliveries to Irish customers, has drafted in a specialist US group that has built facilities for the web retailing giant all over the US.

Mountpark, the developer of the project known as Unit E at Baldonnell Business Park just off the N7 dual carriageway in west Dublin, has teamed up with USAA Real Estate Company, which has built Amazon centres in California, Texas, Florida and Minnesota. Construction is expected to begin shortly on the 654,000sq ft Dublin project, the biggest warehouse planned in Ireland in 2021.

Planning documents for the new facility, which is located next to the Irish military’s Casement Aerodrome, also reveal the Department of Defence has demanded the developers co-ordinate with the Irish Air Corps during construction to ensure that cranes required during building do not endanger Irish military flights to and from the adjacent landing strips.

Brexit pipeline

An Post, which handles most of Amazon’s Irish deliveries, says the new facility will mean “Irish Amazon customers will get their purchases faster” and “avoid the Brexit pipeline” that is being blamed for delays in certain deliveries from the UK. Building industry research company Building Information Ireland has put the value of the Amazon scheme at €60 million.

As part of the planning application, the developers justified the need for the project on the basis that “in light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, there has been increased demand for such developments as online shopping has been at an all-time high”.

Although Amazon declined to say how many staff will be employed at what will be its first Irish fulfilment centre, USAA recently developed a near-identical facility for Amazon in Beaumont, California, which opened in September and now employs 1,000 staff. Another similar Amazon facility that recently opened in the UK also employs 1,000.

Aristocratic farmer

Mountpark and USAA are also required to pay South Dublin County Council a development fee of €5.5 million, permission documents show.

The development entity, MLEU Dublin 2, has also struck a deal worth at least €7.5 million with an aristocratic farmer based in Carlow to acquire lands needed for the Amazon project. Public filings for MLEU in the Companies Registration Office reveal it owes Charles Verschoyle-Greene, whose family has links to the British royal family, a deferred sum of €7.5 million for three parcels of land off the N7.

The project includes 340 parking spaces, 22 motorcycle spaces and 160 bike parking racks for staff. Under the local authority’s development guidelines, it should have 607 parking spaces on the basis of its size, but the number was reduced because it would “exceed the number of staff on site at any one time”.

When asked for further details of the project, Amazon said it did not comment on “rumour and speculation”.